Action Cancer Celebrates 40 Years of Breast Screening

11 September 2018

Northern Ireland’s leading local cancer charity, Action Cancer is celebrating 40 years of its unique life-saving, breast screening service.  Their 40th anniversary celebrations coincide with the launch of their annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) campaign which runs throughout the month of October.

Action Cancer is the only charity in the UK and Ireland to offer free breast screening to asymptomatic women aged 40 – 49 and over 70, those who fall outside the NHS screening age range (50 – 70). The unique and free screening is on offer at Action Cancer House in Belfast and on board the charity’s Big Bus, supported by SuperValu NI and its independent retailers, which travels to 225 locations throughout Northern Ireland every year.

Joanna Currie, Consultant Radiographer at Action Cancer comments: “Since 1978, around 150,000 women have been screened and over 800 breast cancers detected, saving the lives of hundreds of local women, and positively impacting and supporting the thousands of families, friends and wider circles of these women. In addition, Action Cancer has provided peace of mind to tens of thousands of women through providing clear screening results.

“The charity has a long history of introducing ground-breaking technology and in this anniversary year we announced the UK’s first 3D digital breast cancer Screening Service. Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) is a technology that captures a 3D image of the breast. Compared to existing 2D technology, Action Cancer will now be able to detect more cancers and with equal importance, reduce the number of women being called for further investigation.”

Approximately 1,367 women are diagnosed with and 300 die from breast cancer in Northern Ireland every year. For every 1,000 women screened by Action Cancer, an average of five or six cancers are detected. The charity’s digital mammography equipment can detect cancer in its early stages when treatment can be more successful. The vast majority of women who come for screening will receive clear results and will be given peace of mind.

The BCAM campaign has been supported by Gordons Chemists over the last eleven years, helping to spread the key message to female audiences that ‘early detection saves lives’.

Fiona McQuillan, Pharmacist for Gordons Chemists said: “Our relationship with Action Cancer literally saves lives. We believe very strongly in the service Action Cancer provides and the lives that are being saved in the communities we serve. We are proud to continue our commitment to help spread this important and potentially life-saving health message whilst also raising funds for the charity.”

Women aged 40-49 and 70 plus can book their free breast screening appointment either online at www.actioncancer.org or by calling 028 9080 3344.

Action Cancer also offers free support services to people impacted by any type of cancer- helping the individual diagnosed, their family members and friends or carers. These services include: one to one counselling; complementary therapy (which incorporates pain and symptom control therapies) (both from age 5+); life coaching; acupuncture; group support programme (Positive Living Programme) and peer mentoring.